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Morning sickness linked to brighter babies

April 1, 2010

No, we’re not (April) fooling you! New research published by the Journal of Pediatrics assessed the impact of morning sickness on a child’s brain development.  The study, conducted over 5 years, looked at three groups: 45 mothers who experienced morning sickness and who took a morning-sickness drug; 47 who had morning sickness but didn’t take the drug; and 29 women who didn’t have any morning sickness at all. The women had similar IQs and came from similar socioeconomic and educational backgrounds.

When the children were ages three to seven, they were assessed with a battery of age-appropriate psychological tests. All scored within the normal range of IQ. But the children whose mothers had morning sickness scored higher on performance IQ (games and tasks), verbal fluency and “phonological processing” — how well children process the sounds of letters and letter combinations. Taking the morning-sickness drug did not appear to have any negative affect on brain development, and more interestingly, “the achievements of the babies of moms who did not have morning sickness were not as high,” says Dr. Gideon Koren, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto.

“It’s important to stress it was not mental retardation or anything,” says Koren. The difference “wasn’t clinically very important; it was a few points of IQ, and other functions such as language development.”

Could this be yet another thing to worry about?? “Oh no, I’m totally healthy! I’m not being sick every hour, on the hour, so my baby isn’t developping as well as he could…” Please no! Any baby is a little miracle – ‘verbally fluent’ or not – so I would take this research with a large pinch of (smelling) salt. My mother suffered for the full 9 months, and as you can tell from the patchy writing style, I’m definitely not any more verbally fluent than my peers!

Perhaps there’s a better way of interpreting it – if you’re one of the 80% who suffer from it, then it’s a little silver lining for you. Keep munching that toast, and maybe try one of these!

Ps guess who…

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